Donation of breast milk in Spanish Milk Banks after a perinatal death

Donation of breast milk in Spanish Milk Banks after a perinatal death

Virginia Rodríguez Niño (1), Carmen María Samaniego Fernández (2), Isabel Villanueva Gómez (2), Manuela Peña Caballero (3) María Gormaz Moreno (4), Beatriz Flores Antón (5), María José Martínez Lorenzo (6) Nadia Raquel García Lara. University Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid (5)

(1) University Hospital Getafe/CS Sector3, Getafe, (2) University Hospital Río Hortega, Valladolid, (3) University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, (4) University Hospital La Fe, Valencia, (5) University Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, (6) Blood and Milk Bank Zaragoza

1) Background:
Breastmilk donation after a child death has a positive impact on the grief experience and allows milk banks to have high quality breast milk. Our objective was to describe how Spanish milk banks currently approach donation of milk after a child death, in order to detect areas for improvement.

2) Methods:
Descriptive observational study. The information was collected in the first trimester of 2019 through an electronic questionnaire sent to all 14 Spanish Milk Banks. Collected data included the number of donors whose child had died, time of death and donor milk volume from 1st January 2016 to 31st of December 2018. The qualitative variables are described by relative frequencies and the quantitative variables by central tendency and dispersion measures.

3) Results:
A 100% response rate was obtained. 74 women donated breast milk after their child´s death. In 6.8% of the cases the death occurred antepartum or intrapartum and in 93% it was after birth. In 59.5% of the cases, breast milk was pumped before the child death, in 31.1% it was pumped after the child’s death and in 9.5% there was an alive nursing sibling. The median donation volume was 2,48 (p25-p75;1-5.86) liters. From 14 banks, 93% permitted the donation of milk pumped before death and 79% after death during the natural inhibition of lactation and 64% without intention to inhibit lactation. Regarding information included in Milk Bank guidelines after a perinatal death, 57% did not collect this information. 64% had specific care procedures for these women, although 93% did not receive specific training. 71% of the Milk Banks considered that donating milk in these situations helped these women overcome their grief, and 50% intended to improve care, in particular changing milk bank protocols and providing information.

4) Conclusions:
A high percentage of Spanish Milk Banks recognize the importance of donation from women who have lost a child and point out the need to make changes in order to improve care.

Ethics statement:
The authors declare that there is no ethical conflict. The confidentiality and anonymity of bereaved
donors are preserved.


International Stillbirth Alliance, Annual Conference on Perinatal Mortality and Bereavement Care, Madrid, Spain. October 5-6th, 2019.

1 Comment

  1. Estefanía Muñoz Alba

    Very nice job! Congratulations!

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